Everything seemed to fall into place as soon as Mr. Baker began working with Bill. Obviously wha the boy needed was encouragment and good private lessons. How come his parents were never were aware of this problem? The script is a bit simplistic, as were most of these early 1950's films.
August 16, 2009 Subject:
Am I reading homoeroticism into this? Or doesn't Mr. Barker seem to have quite a lot of time and patience to spend eradicating the irrational fear of just one youthful, helpless, gawky, but kind of handsome and very fit kid named Bill and his insecurity about—hey, exactly what Mr. Barker teaches? Why does Mr. Barker's take on this challenge so eagerly? Most teachers don't have this kind of time unless they're being paid for private lessons. Nothing Bill says or does suggests that he has any chance at being a swimmer, especially not a good one, and Mr. Barker's explanation of overcoming fear is a long, weird, half-baked non sequitur.
January 1, 2004 Subject:
Swimming with Sharks?
Once again, Coronet takes a subject, (eg fear) and oversimplifies it to the point of it being resolved in the simplest way possible. Bill has a fear of the water. He can't swim, can't wade, heck, he even can't rescue a girl who is knocked out by a beach ball (by getting hit in the stomach?) The coach sees all this and coaches Billy into being a Swim star! Yay! everyone likes him again!
Gangly, geeky Bill wants to learn how to swim, but he has a water phobia. So he mercilessly calls himself a "coward" and throws his Red Cross swimming manual to the floor in disgust. This opens up the opportunity for a friendly swimming coach to counsel Bill out of his phobia. Soon, Bill is the star of the swim team! Like most Coronet films, the basic ideas are sound, but the presentation makes the process seem a whole lot easier than it actually is. And like most Coronet films, it has a hokey charm all the same.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***. Also available on Teenage Turmoil, Vol. 6
Tells how Bill overcomes his fear of the water. Shows Mr. Barker, the swimming coach, as he talks with types of fear. Bill becomes aware of the sources of fear and means of overcoming it; then he slowly learns skills which help him build his confidence and becomes a good swimmer.
Ken Smith sez: Teenaged Bill can't go swimming with the gang because he's afraid of the water. Mr. Barker, the swim coach, sets him straight. This film has one good CU montage of irritated-looking faces, but that's about it. No monsters in this film either (see Don't Be Afraid).
WATER SWIMMING SPORTS SKILLS COACHES FEAR EMOTIONS BEHAVIOR ADOLESCENTS TEENAGERS BOYS LOCKER ROOMS health and safety Danger Lurks